Chapter 183: Remaining Behind
The Burning Sun Shuttle descended from the air and landed squarely in the canyon. Shi Kaihuang, Li Chongshan, Chu Yingwan, and the others all stepped out of the shuttle.
A soldier bowed to Li Chongshan and the others and said, “Deputy Garrison Chief is still researching and instructed us to not disturb him unless there was a serious crisis at hand.”
“Then we’ll just wait for a bit.” Li Chongshan didn’t particularly mind waiting. At this point, given how many contributions Su Chen had made, no one had any issues with him making them wait for a bit.
They all sat down beneath an old tree in the valley, and drank tea and played a few rounds of chess before Su Chen finally appeared along with the white paper doll. Now that Iron Cliff was no longer following him around, the white paper doll had become Su Chen’s new assistant.
“How did you guys find the time to come over? And with my Raging Sun Shuttle to boot?” Su Chen asked with curiosity.
“Southern Advance Castle has fallen,” Chu Yingwan said. “Sachar Inferno has died.”
“Sachar Inferno?” Su Chen was stunned. “The Inferno Tribe’s old God of War?”
“That’s right,” Shi Kaihuang confirmed as he nodded firmly.
“He’s quite the important figure,” Su Chen said as he sucked in a mouthful of cold air. “How did he die?”
“He died holding the line as the rest of the army retreated. Though he died, a majority of the hundred thousand Ravager soldiers inside were able to survive because of him. The Beast Race paid a tremendous price to take Southern Advance Castle, but in the end they were only able to kill 24,000 Ravager soldiers. The main force of the Inferno Tribe was preserved, and they were able to safely retreat to the north of Sandsift Mountain,” Li Chongshan explained.
Su Chen muttered, “Exchanging the life of an old man about to die for the main Ravager force surviving and being stationed at Southern Advance City? That’s a pretty good exchange. What a pity……”
No one knew what he thought was a pity.
Shi Kaihuang said, “I have another piece of news. The Gravel Lizard Tribe’s Head Chieftain died, and Danba has officially taken over as Head Chieftain.”
“So he’s begun to make his move as well,” Su Chen chuckled.
“You knew that he would do this?” Chu Yingwan asked.
Su Chen replied, “All I know is that if he had trouble even taking this step, then he would have no right to discuss the conditions of our exchange.”
Li Chongshan shook his head. “He cannot satisfy the conditions you gave him.”
Neither the Origin Bone nor the totems were items that Danba had the authority to hand over.
Su Chen calmly said, “I was never expecting to get those items anyways. I just want him to do his best to satisfy them.”
“As expected,” Chu Yingwan sighed. “You want to incite a civil war amongst the Ravagers after all.”
Yes, this was Su Chen’s true goal.
Only the person who controlled the Iron and Blood Country had the authority to trade and sell the country’s most important treasures.
As such, when Su Chen had made a proposal like that, he was secretly informing Danba what he was after.
Internal conflicts, fragmented groups, Ravager pitted against Ravager — that was the state Su Chen wanted to throw this country into.
The Origin Bone wasn’t that important, and neither were the totems. Su Chen’s goal had always been to strategically research ways to increase the combat strength of the human race as a whole, not gather treasures that could only increase the strength of an individual. With those priorities, neither the Origin Bone nor the totems could compete with a cultivation technique that would bolster the strength of a race as a whole.
If Danba wanted it, he would need to sacrifice the unity of his country.
Su Chen didn’t even need him to offer anything up. As long as he picked a fight with his current emperor, that was good enough.
Li Chongshan and the others had had some guesses about this exchange, and now, they had finally managed to verify it straight from Su Chen himself.
“How are you confident that he’ll do this?” Li Chongshan asked.
“Because he has ambitions and a patriotic spirit. Most importantly, he doesn’t really even have a choice,” Su Chen answered.
The bait Su Chen had offered was too good for Danba to even consider passing up. Any individual with the ambition and will to lead the Ravagers in the future would have inherently try to personally assume responsibility for the Ravager Race’s future. And when weighing Su Chen’s proposal, the fate of the Ravagers easily tipped the scales over the Inferno Tribe and a short period of internal conflict.
Whether it was for his countrymen or for himself, Danba could not refuse, so he could only accept.
“The question is, can he win?” Shi Kaihuang asked.
“Not right now. But I have given him the opportunity……”
Given the Gravel Lizard Tribe’s strength and Danba’s power, it would have been normally impossible for them to challenge the Inferno Tribe for the throne.
However, the Beast Wave had given Danba an opportunity.
By relying on the devastation caused by the Beast Wave, Danba could respond to the royal summons and utilize the imperial decree to bolster his own influence and power.
The first thing he needed to do was not to recklessly challenge an opponent but rather to lay the foundations for increasing his own strength.
Once his power had reached an adequate level, he could afford to start making trouble for the Inferno Tribe.
“But even so, the Inferno Tribe will likely detect his schemes. They might exterminate him before he can deepen his roots,” Li Chongshan said.
“That’s possible, but don’t forget that I’m here as well,” Su Chen chuckled.
Everyone knew that he was referring to the technique that would allow the Ravagers to manipulate Origin Energy easily.
If Su Chen were to hand over this technique to Danba, then the Gravel Lizard Tribe’s might would likely suddenly eclipse that of the Inferno Tribe.
“How is the research going?” Li Chongshan asked.
“Everything is going according to plan. I should succeed in at most ten days.”
“What point have you reached?” Shi Kaihuang asked.
Su Chen replied, “They can now successfully reach the Qi Drawing Realm.”
Even though it didn’t sound like much, just that was already a staggering improvement for the Ravagers.
This kind of cultivation technique was equivalent to baptizing every Ravager at least once.
Shi Kaihuang couldn’t help but feel apprehensive. “I hope that you won’t burn yourself when you play with fire.”
Su Chen replied, “Quite the opposite. This will help maintain the equilibrium. If the human race grows too powerful and dominant, then we might stop fighting the Ravagers and start killing ourselves.”
Li Chongshan, Shi Kaihuang, and the others were simultaneously taken aback.
They hadn’t thought the matter through as thoroughly as Su Chen had, who had managed to identify the crux of the issue immediately.
After a long time, Shi Kaihuang sighed. “Forget it. It’s your mission, so you can make the decisions. I won’t ask about it anymore.”
Li Chongshan said, “There’s one more thing. Danba’s Gravel Lizard Tribe has moved north, so there probably won’t be as many soldiers guarding the Heavenly River Ancient Road. In other words……”
“The path home is now open,” Su Chen finished his sentence.
The other reason Su Chen wanted Danba to start an internal conflict was so that a path home would be opened up.
While Danba was placing all of his focus into the internal conflict, no one would be left to stop the Heavenly Might Battalion from going home.
This was the main reason why Li Chongshan and the others had come looking for Su Chen.
They had been traveling and running for a long time now. Without a doubt, the Heavenly Might Battalion was incredibly homesick.
“Yes, the path home is now open. Without the Gravel Lizard Tribe’s aid, the few small tribes in the way will not be able to stop us,” Chu Yingwan chuckled. “This is all possible because of what you have done for us. We came today to tell you that we are preparing to leave now.”
“Preparing to leave now……” Su Chen remained in thought for some time.
Then, he suddenly smiled. “You guys can leave for now. I will stay here for a bit longer.”
“You’re going to stay?” Chu Yingwan asked with some surprise. “If it’s because of the deal with Danba, you can keep working on that even if you go back. I promise that no one will stop you……”
“No.” Su Chen shook his head. “That’s not why.”
“Then what are you staying here for?” everyone asked simultaneously.
Su Chen stood up and took a few paces forward.
Then, he stopped and looked up at the sky.
After a long time, he finally started talking. “I am different from you all. The Heavenly Might Battalion has constantly been pursued by the Ravagers, so all of your experiences here consist of slaughter and escape. You don’t dare stay in the same place for too long, and you cannot sleep peacefully at night. Even if you want to go somewhere else, you need to spend precious time deliberating over where. One simple mistake could damn you all to a terrible fate. You also don’t have much time to rest during the day, so your physical strength has been exhausted and has reached its limits. Because food is limited, your physical bodies are constantly malnourished, and many soldiers didn’t die in battle but rather while on the move or even in their dreams…… There were even a few who chose to kill themselves.”
“The life of a soldier is not easy, and the same goes for that of your generals. Running an army requires strict discipline, and you need to plan your next steps immediately after setting up camp. Not only do you need to give commands during battle, but you also need to personally participate. Soldiers need to give their strength and their lives, while generals need to give their hearts and minds in addition to their body and their lives…… Soldiers want to die from exhaustion, while generals want to cry from their torment.”
“You could say that even though the Heavenly Might Battalion has managed to accomplish many glorious feats while deep in Ravager territory, those feats were all built upon a foundation of sacrifice and suffering. There were many times when you all should have died, but somehow managed to survive. And if it weren’t for my help, you all would have definitely died. But all I can do for you is stall for a few more days. The rations I brought are going to run out soon, right? No matter how conservative you are with them and how much we plunder the land around us, we are going to run into a supply crisis sooner or later.”
“That’s why Ravager territory is not a place the Heavenly Might Battalion can stay, and why the days that you all have suffered through are not days that people can look forward to. That’s why you want to leave, and that’s why you all miss home so much.”
The generals were all rendered speechless by his words.
“But I am different,” Su Chen continued.
“I have the ability to disguise myself and can transform into a Ravager at will. I have the Silver Moon Shuttle, which is exceptionally fast, so I will be fine as long as I don’t run into someone as powerful as a Head Chieftain. To me, the risk of staying long-term in Ravager territory is far lower than that of the Heavenly Might Battalion. Not only that, but my quality of life won’t decrease. Because I am alone and have a lot of money on me, I can fill my Origin Ring with enough supplies to last for ten years. I don’t need to worry about resources or procuring them, so my life will be much easier. As such, none of the pain and suffering the Heavenly Might Battalion endeavored through are a problem for me.”
“Living here for me is no more dangerous or challenging than living in Long Sang Country, but I stand to profit much more here. Every individual in Ravager territory is an enemy. I can do my business without worry, I can kill whoever I please, and I can experiment on whoever I want to. My morality will be totally unburdened. Also, I can gather all kinds of precious ingredients and gain huge profits. I already have an inconceivable amount of wealth just based on what the Heavenly Might Battalion has given me along with what I managed to snag from the Beast Race’s lands. Even though I also have lots of money in Long Sang Country, that is all because of my Instructor. Here, everything I have obtained is from my own efforts. The feeling is completely different.”
Su Chen chuckled as he continued. “So even though this place is a place of torment for the Heavenly Might Battalion, it is a place of chance, a place of destiny to me. My research has advanced by leaps and bounds here, my consciousness power has skyrocketed, I managed to complete the Immaculate Cultivation Technique, and I am even able to improve the Ravager Race as a whole…… It could be said that, during this period of time, my strength, my understanding of the world around me, and the amount of resources I possess have all increased significantly. Working behind closed doors all the time is not enough; from time to time, I need to go out and see the outside world to broaden my horizons. That is the best way for me to gain more knowledge and achieve greater results.”
Su Chen paused momentarily.
Then, he delivered the capstone of his argument. “Most importantly, I have a feeling.”
“I believe that I can complete the bloodline-less technique for reaching the Light Shaking Realm here!”